Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Basic Concepts of Kettlebell Training

The use of kettlebells can be dated back to the end of the 19th century but it wasn't popularized in the United States until the late '90s. The first US-made Russian style kettlebell was made in 2001. Kettlebells are used like other weights to improve one's physique and fitness level.

What sets this cast iron weight apart from other exercise tools is its unusual design- like a cannonball with a handle. Some are filled with water, sand or steel shot. Unlike regular dumbbells where the weight is evenly distributed on each side, the kettlebell’s center of mass goes away from the hand.

Because of its design, the user can swing the weight to improve core strength. Each time you swing the weight, you are not just fighting the weight but the centripetal force as well. Using a kettlebell is no doubt more challenging than working out with a dumbbell of the same weight.

English: Three commonly used kettlebells (Drag...
Kettlebells (Dragon Door Brand) of various sizes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The ballistic and swinging movements combine cardio, strength and flexibility movements. These exercises can build strength and endurance specifically in the lower back, shoulders, butt and legs. Basic moves like swing, snatch and the clean and jerk work different muscle groups at once.

Kettlebell exercises are holistic in nature, working many different muscle groups all over the body at the same time. Compared to exercises done with dumbbells, kettlebell training often requires a larger number of repetitions. Another important aspect of the kettlebell is the caution that needs to be practiced when using it.

One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is they bend at the waist and pull with their arms to move the weight. You need to use your hips and not your arms to move the kettlebell. Doing the exercises correctly will allow you to burn more calories and prevent injuries.

If you are a beginner, it will be best to try different weights and exercises until you find one that that will give you a challenging but functional workout. Learn the basics before you venture out to more advanced techniques. The basic core moves that you have to master are how to swing, clean and snatch.

You can't be an advanced kettlebell user unless you practice the basic exercises first. But another great thing about working out with kettlebells is that since the exercises involved in kettlebell training use the same type of movements you might use in daily physical chores such as chopping wood and shoveling, you are able to develop functional strength that can benefit you in your everyday life.

The weight itself does not look complicated, but mastering the moves is a little difficult. There are certain techniques that are critical to preventing injuries. If you are planning to workout with a kettlebell, it's best to enroll in a class or purchase a DVD so you can practice the moves at home, and learn the basics first to stay safe.

A Few Good Kettlebell Workout DVDs for Beginners:

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